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Research Topic - Pocket Computing

 

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In order to promote collaboration and to advance the state of pocket computing research, we are distributing all of the necessary information to build a copy of the Itsy pocket computer, including hardware specifications, a low level monitor and the Linux source code.
 
Itsy Pocket Computer
Version 1.5
Itsy Memory Daughter-Card
Version 1.5

Itsy Pocket Computer Version 1.5
The Itsy Pocket Computer is a flexible research platform. Its aim is to enable hardware and software research in pocket computing. It is a small, low-power handheld device with a highly flexible interface, designed to encourage the development of innovative research projects, such as novel user interfaces, new applications, power management techniques, hardware extensions, etc.

This distribution provides most of the information necessary to build the Itsy pocket computer version 1.5. This distribution includes the documentation, the schematics (including net-list), the PLD programming data, the PCB manufacturing data, the PCB assembly data (including bill-of-materials), and the case manufacturing data.

 

Download the Itsy Pocket Computer hardware specifications


Itsy Memory Daughter-Card Version 1.5
The Memory Daughter-Card is a memory extension board for the Itsy pocket computer. It is one of several daughter-cards designed for the Itsy computer and is provided as an example of how to build daughter-cards. It implements an additional bank of flash memory (max. 4 Mbyte) and up to three additional banks of DRAM (max. 16 Mbyte per bank). This daughter-card also provides easy access (test points) to most of the signals available on the daughter-card connector and is, therefore, suitable for fast hardware prototyping.

This distribution provides most of the information necessary to build the Memory Daughter-Card version 1.5. This hardware has been designed to be used with the Itsy pocket computer version 1.5. This distribution includes the documentation, the schematics (including net-list), the PCB manufacturing data, and the PCB assembly data (including bill-of-materials).

 

Download the Itsy Memory Daughter-Card hardware specifications


Itsy Monitor Version 1.4
The Itsy Monitor is the lowest level of the Itsy software. Upon reset, it detects and initializes the hardware and launches an OS (e.g., Linux), much like the BIOS of a PC. Unlike a BIOS, the monitor does not provide any run-time functionality once the OS has been launched.

The user can interact with the monitor through the RS-232 port, by resetting the Itsy computer while holding the main push-button pressed. The monitor's minimal configuration lets the user change the monitor parameters, program the flash memory, and download and launch a program. The monitor's full configuration provides additional hardware test and troubleshoot functionality. For the time being, there is no comprehensive documentation of the monitor. However, run-time help messages describe all available commands.

This distribution provides the Itsy Monitor version 1.4 in binary form. This software has been designed for the Itsy pocket computer version 1.5. This version of the Itsy Monitor has been compiled for 50 ns EDO DRAM circuits. For the time being, there is no support to change the DRAM type or speed.

Download the Itsy Monitor


The Itsy Linux Port
As part of the Itsy project, we have developed a version of Linux for the StrongARM 1100. This port is based on the 2.0.30 version of the ARM Linux port developed by Russell King.

Although there are much newer versions of ARM Linux available today, the Itsy port contains several pieces of software not yet available in the newer versions, including the FTL flash file system, power management support, support to dynamically change clock speeds, etc. We expect that these features will eventually be integrated into later versions of Linux, by the Linux community. Information about currently existing versions of ARM Linux is available here.

Note that the Itsy Linux Port depends on the Itsy monitor in order to boot, and to resume from sleep mode.

We have created a mailing list for questions and discussion about ports of Linux to the StrongARM 1100. To subscribe send email to sa1100-linux-request@pa.dec.com with the word 'subscribe' in the body of the message. This list is the best place to send questions about the port. Note that the Itsy port is not officially supported.

Download the Itsy Linux port
 

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